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How much do you know about AIDS?

Test your knowledge with these 25 questions about AIDS:


  1. HIV is the same as AIDS.
  2. You run a great risk of being infected through a blood transfusion at a hospital.
  3. You can catch HIV from toilets and from mosquitoes and pets.
  4. HIV destroys a person's ability to fight infection.
  5. Sharing needles for drug use, tattoos or body piercing can spread HIV infection.
  6. It is safe to swim with, give a hug to or kiss a friend who has HIV or AIDS.
  7. It is safe for a child to be in school with a child who is HIV positive.
  8. A person who has the HIV/AIDS virus but shows no signs of infection will not infect others.
  9. You can't get HIV by drinking alcohol.
  10. You can catch HIV through unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex with a person who is HIV infected.
  11. Infection rates are higher for men than for women.
  12. The HIV test looks for the HIV virus.
  13. You can catch HIV if you have unprotected sex just once.
  14. It's better not to know if you have HIV.
  15. An infected mother can pass the HIV virus on to her unborn child.
  16. All babies born to HIV positive women have the HIV virus antibodies and later develop HIV.
  17. A person can have HIV for 10 years or more before symptoms appear.
  18. People who have HIV/AIDS will be infected for the rest of their lives or until there is a cure.
  19. The HIV virus affects men and women the same way.
  20. Medicines that have been developed are relatively inexpensive and easy to take.
  21. Anyone who is HIV positive can take the medicines available.
  22. People with HIV can eat any foods that non-infected people can eat.
  23. In Japan, 10% of the people who drink heavily engage in casual sex.
  24. In Japan, 80% of sexually active people use condoms.
  25. In Japan, the number of people with HIV and AIDS is just over 4,000.


The virus, called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), can be found in bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, pre-cum (a fluid from the penis which does not contain semen), and breast milk. Since these fluids are not normally found in daily contact with people at work or at school, it's difficult to contract this virus. However, in more intimate contact, through unprotected sex, for example, these fluids are easily transmitted from man to woman, from woman to man, man to man and woman to woman.

When the virus finds its way into your system, it starts to do one of two things. It can immediately start to invade the immune system cells, called helper T cells or CD4 cells, breaking them down and making copies of the HIV virus. From there, the virus continues to invade new cells and the cycle begins again. The other thing HIV can do is to hide inside healthy T cells. It doesn't always kill the immune system right away. That's why you can have HIV in your body but not know it and still look and act like a healthy person. And you can give the virus to someone else through sexual contact.

Also, if you don't know you have HIV and don't get the proper medication, the virus may start to spread and it will be easy for diseases like cancers, pneumonia, blindness and others to take over. People whose immune systems can no longer fight infections are said to have AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The symptoms of AIDS usually show up somewhere between two years and more than a decade. In women, infections in the reproductive organs are common. In contrast, Kaposi's sarcoma is a type of cancer which occurs more frequently in men.

As far as we know, everyone who gets HIV eventually gets AIDS. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, though there are medicines that can help you live longer. There are ways to protect yourself from catching HIV. First, always use a latex condom from start to finish when having oral, anal or vaginal sex. Second, know who your partner is and ask about his/her history. If you have any doubts at all, you should consider having an HIV test and asking your partner to, too. It's free and it's anonymous.

And remember the next time you go out drinking, alcohol and drugs may influence your decision making and reduce your ability to practice safer sex.

Did you find the answers to all 25 questions? Probably not. Let's find out more about this virus starting with the HIV test.


When the body is infected with a virus, the immune system starts to produce antibodies, proteins which neutralize the virus. The HIV test can't see the HIV virus. It looks for the antibodies that the body produces when the HIV virus is present. But it takes about 12 weeks for the body to make these antibodies. This time is called the "window period". That means you may have the virus, but it won't show up in a test. If you are infected, you can still pass the virus on through unprotected sex.

Pregnant women will pass on the antibodies to their babies. All babies whose mothers are HIV positive will be born with HIV antibodies, but they may not go on to develop HIV. Doctors don't know why this is so. In the US the rate is estimated as 1 out of 4, though some studies have had results as high as 1 out of 100.


Since 1985 blood and blood products have been tested for HIV and infected blood is not used in transfusions. However, if infected blood is donated during the window period, the test may not detect HIV antibodies. NEVER USE A BLOOD DONATION TO FIND OUT YOUR HIV STATUS! You run the risk of infecting others if you should have the virus in your blood. Still, there is very little chance of being infected from blood during a transfusion. The blood banks in hospitals are now as safe as present HIV detection methods allow.

Condoms should always be kept in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, NOT in your pocket or in the glove compartment of your car. Be sure to use a new condom every time you have sex, from start to finish (remember that HIV might be in pre-cum). Squeeze out any air at the tip of the condom, and put it on as soon as the penis is erect. Hold the condom firmly by the rim and withdraw right after ejaculation.

In groups, discuss the following:

Where can I call for more information?

You can call these numbers to ask questions in Japanese.

Tel. No. (extension)

Or you can call the Japan HIV Center Hotline
Tokyo 03-5259-0255 - Mon-Fri 12:00 - 14:00; Sat14:00 - 18:00
Osaka 0720-43-2044 - Sat 13:00 - 18:00
Nagoya 052-831-2228 - Sat 13:00 - 18:00

This page found at: http://www.japanetwork.org/students/advlp.html.html

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